9 ways to protect yourself re: Facebook Privacy

Nine ways to protect yourself

Facebook offers many privacy controls, but good luck understanding them. A new study by Siegel+Gale, New York-based consultants, finds that Facebook???s and Google???s privacy policies are tougher to comprehend than the typical bank credit card agreement or government notice.Google’s widely promoted new policy was so dense that researchers “found it impossible to write an adequate question to test a reader’s comprehension.” Facebook???s tools were nearly as opaque. Here are tips to help you with them. For more details, read “Protect Your Privacy on Facebook.”

Think before you type. Even if you delete an account (which takes Facebook about a month), some info can remain in Facebook???s computers for up to 90 days.

Regularly check your exposure. Each month, check out how your page looks to others. Review individual privacy settings if necessary.

Protect basic information. Set the audience for profile items, such as your town or employer. And remember: Sharing info with ???friends of friends??? could expose it to tens of thousands.

Know what you can???t protect. Your name and profile picture are public. To protect your identity, don???t use a photo, or use one that doesn???t show your face.

???UnPublic??? your wall. Set the audience for all previous wall posts to just friends.

Turn off Tag Suggest. If you???d rather not have Facebook automatically recognize your face in photos, disable that feature in your privacy settings. The information will be deleted.

Block apps and sites that snoop. Unless you intercede, friends can share personal information about you with apps. To block that, use controls to limit the info apps can see.

Keep wall posts from friends. You don???t have to share every wall post with every friend. You can also keep certain people from viewing specific items in your profile.

When all else fails, deactivate. When you deactivate your account, Facebook retains your profile data, but the account is made temporarily inaccessible. Deleting an account, on the other hand, makes it inaccessible to you forever.

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